French deal on the cards for Ardian

The firm’s SME team has acquired a 49% stake in Micropross.

Paris-based Ardian, formerly known as AXA Private Equity, has invested in Micropross, a French software company which specialises in smart card technology.

Ardian acquired a 49 percent stake, according to a statement. Financial details of the transactions were undisclosed. Ardian declined to comment beyond the statement.

Micropross, founded in Lille in 1979, supplies products and solutions for the smart card industry.

The company said Ardian’s investment would further support the its growth plans, with a particular focus on contactless smart card payment solutions.

Ardian will also consolidate Micropross’ position in the US and in Asia, according to a statement. The business, which has been growing in recent years, already gets 80 percent of its sales coming from outside France.

“Thanks to its technologically advanced products and the strength of its management team, Micropross will now move into a new phase of development in the context of this fast growing market,” François Jerphagnon, a managing director of small market enterprise capital at Ardian, said.

The Ardian private equity small market enterprise capital team focuses on companies with values below €100 million, in the case of a controlling stake, or below €500 million, for minority investments.

It is unclear which fund Adrian used for this investment. However, in December, Ardian’s small market enterprise capital team sold Competence Call Center Holding (CCC), an Austrian-based call centre operator, to Silverfleet Capital. It made that investment from its AXA Expansion Fund II, a €353 million vehicle that was raised in 2006, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division.

Ardian is also currently investing its latest LBO Fund V, which closed on €2.41 billion last October, a week after it completed its protracted spin-out from parent insurer the AXA Group.